You know what’s really sad? I completely accept peoples choices if they change their opinion of me – people are free to make their own choices based on information they are fed – if they choose to not look further. It has been hurtful for me at times when this has happened. However, my daughter this evening, was questioning as to why some people had suddenly, as she put it ‘dropped me, and not even bothered to get in touch and let me know why’, people who were friends of mine here, I thought fine friends, and had indirectly connected with her also, because I would speak about them. Now yes, it personally hurt me to have that happen without people even choosing to enter into a dialogue with me where I could correct misconceptions, and if they chose to walk then that’s fine, but lots of people haven’t given me that opportunity, and what cuts me to the guts, is not about me, I’m used to that shit. But the questions my daughter had because she thought these were nice people and enjoyed the indirect contact with them, and couldn’t understand how they would choose to just disappear without a word.
It is sad, and I feel sad for her, but at least it opened up a dialogue about social media (before an age where I will allow her to get on it), about what a crazy, illogical, irrational and insensitive place it can be, where bullying and false information are rife, and people don’t stop to think, because they are not genuinely invested in who you are (Clearly!), otherwise they would have handled things in a more respectful and thoughtful way.
But then as my daughter said, and bless her soul – ”so really? People think that if they just unfriend you, that that’s something that you should let affect you.’ I explained of course no, that it’s what happens a lot unfortunately, and people see power in making the statement of simply ‘pressing the unfriend button’, and how messed up is that?, because clearly if they’re going to do that, without talking to a person first as to what their concerns may be or the reason they are doing it, tells you more about that person, and their choices, and should never make a person feel like they have any less worth.
People do it, people play it, and they don’t think about the ramifications for others. There’s power in doing that for some people. But I still can’t get over the sadness I feel for my daughter about her hurt from people unfriending me, because she thought they were nice people and had connected with them herself. I don’t mind what happened, people make choices, but to not be able to give any further explanation than… ‘some people decided for whatever reason they didn’t like mummy anymore and didn’t explain why, so I can’t explain to you, all I can do is speculate.’ is hard. Fuck with me, fine, but messing with my kids and causing them confusion and issues around being abandoned without understanding, really gets my goat.
Anyway, as I said, a good opportunity for a lesson about social media and how to take the games people play, because many do work that way. And that if she is ever subject to that kind of covert cyber bullying, she can view it in her own perspective, is, I guess, an invaluable life experience that I can guide her through as she gets older.
Bullying in various ways was of course around when I was young, and I was subject to a lot of it because of the person I am, but it’s even more insidious now I think with people hiding behind keyboards and doing it too. So many youth suicides occur as a result of this behaviour, and how it impacts on the person (and it’s also a suicide trigger in real life stuff, pre-internet (as I’ve experienced also) that I feel fear for my children. I felt fear of bullying and being marginalised always, because I never wanted them to experience what I did, but this conversation bought to home for me just how many extra ways this can happen now, and the impact on psychological health. Anyway, sounds like my daughter has her head screwed on right, and more importantly I think, as she gets older, if she is struggling with it, she will talk to me about it so that I can hopefully help reinforce the current perspective she has about such activities.
– Judi Reed, 2016